JUNIPER CAFÉ & BISTRO
Situated in the middle of the otherwise almost entirely residential neigh-bourhood of Strathearn Heights (specifically on the corner of 87 Street and 95 Avenue), Juniper Café and Bistro has not gained much widespread notoriety. For those who like it quiet and relaxed, not being among the crowds downtown or on Whyte Avenue is a selling point, but even if you disagree, Juniper is a must-visit spot by any standard. Although the low-key,warmly lit space functions perfectly well as a mere coffee shop, my advice is to go when you’re hungry. Though I can only speak to their breakfast food, if the lunch and dinner menus are half as good they are still worth checking out. For breakfast, order literally anything with espresso to drink,and try the unique, handheld eggs benny with pulled pork, or the waffle with berries and house-made maple syrup if you like it sweet. Speaking of sweet, most of the counter space is dedicated to displaying the wide array of baked goods — like the Chocolate Diablo Cookies made with cayenne and ginger — which are also house-made and which the staff will happily pack up for you, so stop by even if you’re on the go.
ROASTI COFFEE CO.
Located at 52 Brentwood Blvd, Sherwood Park, Roasti Coffee Co. is a new name in the local bean scene. Father and son team Gerry and Andrew Hayes opened the café and in-house roastery just last October, though they’ve been roasting beans since Christmas of 2016. Since then, Roasti has grown into an impressive supplier of a large number of Edmonton-based cafés and restaurants, though their delicious brew can be found as faras Camrose, Morinville, and Androssan. Seating approximately 17 at full capacity, Roasti makes the most of its small, open-concept space. The roasting equipment — custom built in Nevada — is the showpiece of the back half of the café, while a mixture of table and bar seating occupy the front. The menu is small, but features a few interesting coffee staples, including cold brew, nitro coffee, and cortado. Tuesday through Sunday, the café is stocked with donuts from Frickin’ Delights in Devon, and once an expansion of the roastery is complete this fall, Andrew Hayes promises the addition of even more locally produced food from several other businesses. If you crave a full-bodied coffee with a bold finish or just a memorable café atmosphere, then Roasti Coffee Co. is for you.
THE CARROT COMMUNITY ARTS’ COFFEE HOUSE
At first glance, the volunteer-run, non-profit The Carrot Community Arts’ Coffee House looks more like an eccentric artist’s studio than a coffee shop — the furniture is haphazard and mismatched, and paintings cover the walls. These paintings are in fact a rotating exhibition of local artists’ work — part of the café’s project to house and promote Edmonton artists of all stripes. Check the calendar on their website to pick from an array of events and performances happening on any given week, including live music every Friday, and open-mic night every Saturday. Basically, if you’re interested in local arts of any kind, The Carrot probably has something for you. They get all their coffee beans from the local roaster Detour, which itself uses certified fair trade beans. The coffee is quite good, but the real highlights are the Chai Latte and the London Fog. While The Carrot doesn’t have a full kitchen in the building, they have house-made sandwiches and are well equipped with soups and baked goods from other local shops. Try the incredible reuben or an apple turnover from the nearby Passion de France. The Carrot is located on 118 avenue and 93 street, and is open from 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.